SUMMER is on the horizon and that normally means just one thing for many Buddies – time to head up The Braes.
The hills at Gleniffer have been a huge part of Paisley life for hundreds of years, and that interest doesn’t appear to be diminishing.
But ramblers will always miss one cherished old landmark, which disappeared many moons ago.
The Peesweep Inn had a seven-day licence over 100 years ago, and was one of the first pubs in the United Kingdom to do so.
Up until the early 20th century, people travelling over the hills between Paisley and Kilmarnock on foot and horseback often dropped in at the picturesque pub to quench their thirst.
It was a favourite destination for Buddies who loved to clear their lungs and relax in idyllic countryside after toiling from morning till night in the town’s dusty thread mills, dye-works, bleachfields, chemical-manufacturers and engineering factories.
They loved sitting in the howff’s comfortable chairs and downing drafts of ale with whisky chasers after climbing the steep hill out of Paisley, passing the Bonnie Wee Well then heading onto the heather-mantled moorlands at the top of The Braes.
Paisley’s manual workers prided themselves on their intelligence, so favourite conversation topics were politics, religion and employment legislature.
But there was always time to spin a yarn, crack a joke, have a sing-song and share old-fashioned small talk among bosom Buddies.
No wonder the Peesweep Inn was known as Paisley’s answer to the Jolly Beggars and Poosie Nansie’s taverns, so gloriously immortalised by poet Robert Burns.
Distant memories of these long-vanished times are superbly enshrined in the photograph on this page of the Peesweep Inn in its heyday.
Taken during the late 19th century, it was discovered a number of years ago by Janette Lynch, then secretary of Johnstone History Society.
It’s a summer’s night, the leafy trees provide a shady canopy, and a group of men – one in a lum hat – stand at the door of the inn, which was situated at the Paisley, Lugton, Johnstone and Neilston crossroads.
Unusually, there is a woman at the inn entrance. In those days, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, it was frowned on for members of the fairer sex to visit hostelries.
One of the main attractions was the seven-day-licence, although it could only serve drinks to bona fide travellers on the Sabbath.
So perhaps the woman and her companions were enjoying a Sunday summer ramble on The Braes and had called at the inn for something tasty to eat and drink.
The inn got its unusual name from the peesweep, or lapwing, a black-and-white moorland bird with a distinctive pee-wit call, once common on the Gleniffer Braes.
Sadly, it was time for last orders when the inn lost its drinks licence 90 years ago. With the loss went its popularity and patrons, so its doors were closed forever.
Today, the site where the Peesweep once stood is now covered with sprawling shrubs and trees – and only distant memories remain.